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Add a touch of the exotic to your vegetable garden with Asian greens. They come in a fascinating array of colors and textures. Some have curled or rounded leaves, while others produce feathery, deeply lobed leaves. Leaf colors range, too, from deep red to light green. Flavors vary from mild to spicy, so experiment -- an easy thing to do because they're fast and easy to grow from an inexpensive packet of seeds.
Plant Asian greens in early spring or late summer so that plants will mature in cool weather.
how to grow Asian greens
Begin harvesting young leaves for salads three weeks after seeding by snipping off outer leaves. Allow types that form loose heads, such as tatsoi, mibuna, and komatsuna, to form into larger plants. Pull up the entire plant or cut it at the base to use in cooking.
Pick Asian greens while they're young and have a mild flavor -- they're a perfect, intriguing addition to salads. Wait until the leaves are older, more strongly flavored and less tender for use in stir-fries or to steam or sautè. For best quality, harvest plants before they begin to flower and go to seed.
more varieties for Asian greens
is an upright plant that bears medium green leaves with white stalks. Plants are ready to harvest 35 days after seeding.
'Green Spray' mibuna
features straplike leaves that add a mildy spicy flavor to salads. The plants grow 12 inches tall. 40 days
bears deeply fringed leaves that are borne on thin white leaf stalks. They add a decorative touch to the garden and mildly spicy flavor to salads. 45 days
'Red Giant' red mustard
grows 1-2 feet tall and has broad purplish-red leaves. Young leaves add zing to salads; older leaves should be cooked for best flavor. 43 days
'Florida Broadleaf' mustard greens
resemble spinach but have a snappier flavor. The plant, which matures in 45 days, is used as steamed greens.
features deep green, crinkled leaves and forms a compact rosette. The spoon-shape leaves have a mild mustard flavor. Plants mature in 45 to 50 days.